Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"Hunted and Harried" by R M Ballantyne


By Alexander Carse -, Public Domain,

An illegal conventicle. Covenanters in a Glen, painting by Alexander Carse.
I have just finished reading this book by R M Ballantyne.

I have many of R M Ballantyne's novels and indeed I sold a collection of them on Gumtree a couple of years ago.

I thought most of his books were Children's literature and usually with a Christian world view woven into the plots.

This book certainly has a Christian perspective but probably questionable material  for pre teens today.

It tells the story in a part fiction part real life saga of the "Covenanters" period of the struggles in Scotland in the 17th century endured by the Presbyterian Church.

Perhaps Ballantyne's most famous novel was "The Coral Island" which I first read as a pre teenager.

This book is about a period of history I really knew nothing of.

What a terrible "eye opener" .

It's parallels in modern times are probably similar to the recent troubled years of Ireland.

The Signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirkyard, by William Allan.
By William Allan (1782–1850) - City of Edinburgh Council, Public Domain,

It shows how people of faith,"covenanters" are persecuted by Dragoons on the order of the King of England who was according to history trying to re establish the Papacy in Scotland.

The Covenanters were Presbyterian Evangelical Christians.

They were forced to hold clandestine meetings in houses and open air meetings in secluded places in the countryside.

These were often attended by thousands.

The locations were called Conventicles.

There was a price on certain clergy and lay people's heads.

Many were forced to flee and hide in caves.

The novel graphically follows the lives of a core group of people,mostly fictional, but based on facts.

They are shown interacting with actual historical figures from both sides of the divide.

The treatment given to the Covenanters was totally anti Christian.

The Covenanters were peaceful people but driven to defend themselves and their families.

Eventually the king was overthrown and decrees were drawn up and signed to make sure nothing like what hapenned could ever happen again.

This was not before many years of bloodshed and martyrdom.

you can read the whole book at the link below at project Guttenberg.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Antique Pedal Organ to give away.

I have an antique Estey, American made Pedal Organ to give away.
It works well and is a nice piece of furniture.
A little bit of TLC would make it a feature for the right house.
If someone wants it free of charge and you live in Adelaide and are prepared to pick it up you are welcome to it.
We have had it for about 30 years and it was previously used in a Church.
You might have to be quick.

My phone number is 0417867476 or email

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Great Writers- H. Rider-Haggard

I have recently embarked on a programme of reading some of the books in my collection of classic stories by classic authors.

They tell us that too much "screen" time is really not good from a health perspective especially as you near bedtime.

So now each night I am determining to do some catch up reading.

I am currently reading "She" (She who must be obeyed)  by H Rider-Haggard.

(Finished this. Now reading "Hunted and Harried" by R M Ballanatyne)

When you read some of these books you can see the connection with modern filmaking such as "Indiana Jones" and "Pirates of the Carribean"

Some are books I loved as a young person and some by the authors of those books that I haven't read.

Some authors  in my collection include:

Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
Jack London (The call of the Wild)
H Rider-Haggard (King Solomon's Mines)
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Books)
R M Ballantyne (The Coral Island)
Jules Verne (Around the World in Eighty Days)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
W Somerset Maughan ( Collection of Short Stories)
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
Marcus Clarke (For the Term of his Natural Life)
Rolf Boldrewood (Robbery under Arms)
Robert Ruarck (Uhuru)
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Johann Wyss (Swift Family Robinson)
Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers)
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe)
Sir Walter Scott (Ivanhoe)
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
Lew Wallace (Ben Hur)
Charles Kingsley (The Water Babies,Westward Ho)
J M Barrie (Peter Pan)
James Fenimore Cooper (The Last of the Mohicans)
Jane Austen (Jane Eyre)

to name a few.

These are all authors I have read some of their most famous stories, but they have a great deal more
on offer than just their best sellers.

 They weren't just one hit wonders.

The  story of "She" is absorbing and very much in the genre of lost cities and tribes,Goddesses and Mummies and the like.

What strikes me about the book is that the writer is so good to paint word pictures that conjure up scenes just as good as any modern day adventure movie that  your imagination  supplies the images in vivid detail.

This is the art of any good novelist really.

In a 1930's movie of "SHE" which you can watch on youtube they have recreated a few scenes quite faithfully but have strayed from a direct retelling of the story.
 It does give you the gist of the story though.
I enjoyed it. 

My Aunty Alma was a keen reader and writer and student of literature.

She was always encouraging me to write.

She told me that any good writer's aim should be to point people to God.

I will write about Aunty Alma in a future post.

From reading Rider Haggard's books and about him on google it is not hard to conclude he was a Christian but had an unhealthy interest in re incarnation( which is not Christian).

There is much Christian or Biblical imagery in his writings and he ponders some of the great questions about faith,creation and existence in the book "She".

There is a scene in the book( I won't spoil it for you) dealing with the meaning of life  where there is a mighty rushing wind and flames of fire.

Evokes images of the day of pentecost.

The fire in this instance is also a purifying fire of Judgement.

Principal anti heroine, Aeysha, is really a very good metaphor for Lucifer which means Angel of Light.

Both amazingly beautiful,beguiling, evil and seductive.

The book really seems to point to a struggle with his faith going on in the mind of the author.

The themes of temptation, forgiveness and revenge and justification of our own sin are truly there.

Haggard would have done better in some ways,in my opinion. to write directly about the great themes of the Bible.

But then these classics of English literature would not have existed.

you can read the whole book on project gutenberg at the link below.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

"World Aflame"

"World Aflame"  That is the name of a book written by Billy Graham in 1965.
It was and is a Prophetic book analysing the world of 1965 and looking at Biblical Prophecy.
If you were to read it now the message is equally as important for today's world.
It is a challenge for Christians and non Christians alike.

Here are the chapter titles.
1.Flames out of Control
2.The Old Immorality
3.Our Psychological Jitters
4.The National Idolatory
5.The Searchers in a Flaming World
6.Who am I?
7.Man's Fatal Disease
8.The Inadequacy of Modern Religion
9. The Incredible Journey
10. How does God speak?
11.The Inescapable Christ
12. God's Foolishness
13. The Day Death Died.
14.The Possibility of the New Man(Woman)
15.How to become a New Man(Woman)
16.The Dynamics of the New Man(Woman)
17.Social Involvement of the New Man(Woman)
18.The Fabulous Future
19. The Distant Trumpet
20. Signs of the End
21. The Coming Judgement
22.The World on Fire
23. The World of Tomorrow

Human Beings have been always on a journey towards an individual destiny.
With or Without Jesus Christ.
The world is also on a collision course with it's end and its new creation.

If you have not examined these big questions don't delay.

I can assure you we are only here for a short while.

Then what?

Here is a link to the book online.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Reviewing your Photography Career

Shot on film, Pentax Super A
I first started taking photos in 1970.
That is apart from maybe one or two rolls of film when I was very young.
I started weddings in 1975, strictly as an amateur and progressed to charging for my work as well as the materials.
I last shot a whole wedding probably about 3 years ago. 

Just lately I have been archiving a lot of my wedding and other photography.
Some of it shot on film, some on both film and digital and some just digital.
It has been an interesting exercise.
Some weddings,where my memory said I probably didn't do too well,
they weren't so bad.
Likewise some were pretty low in overall standard but usually had some good thrown in with the bad.
Enough to save the day.
By today's standards, and if I was critically honest with myself, overall I would give myself an average score of 6 out of 10.

In the latter years with the benefits of digital capture I probably progressed to about 8 out of 10.

As far as what I have learnt over the journey there has been heaps.

Mastering film shooting and manually setting cameras.

Using an incident light meter.

Using bounce flash and fill flash.

Creative posing of people as couples,singly and in groups.

Shot on digital. Canon 400D

Interacting with customers and people.

Working out a timetable system that works on a wedding day.

The business side of photography.

Mastering digital photography and the necessary post processing.

If you want to learn some of the things I have learnt in more detail then visit my youtube channel and pick out the posts in particular on wedding photography.

I am available for teaching 1:1 or in small groups.

These posts are sourced from my course in Wedding Photography that I have taught to many over the years.

Also there are similar posts on this blog and my photography blogs if you search the archives.

What would I have done differently in hindsight?

1. Possibly used better lenses and cameras.
2. Improved my photography and charged more.
3. Not given away negatives which I did for some time.
4.Supplied more upmarket albums with my packages.

Looking back I think my decision a couple of times to stay part time and continue my day job was a wise thing. The desire is to be totally self supported by photography but that is a very hard gig if you have a family to support.

Shot on film. Pentax MZs

Minolta light meter 1VF, Pentax MZs, Metz 45CL3, Quantum Battery 2 power pack.Nat Rogers photographer.
Shot on film.   Pentax MZs

Wedding Photography while demanding is a fun thing when you have got to a certain level.

As the light fades a well earned cup of coffee.Pentax *istD. These bottom 2 pics by Nat Rogers